International Union
of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)

This Page Contains:
  • Introduction and Mission
  • Structure
  • Finances
  • Officers of the Union
  • IUGG XXI General Assembly Program Committee

    Introduction and Mission

    The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), which was established in 1919, is dedicated to the scientific study of the Earth and the application of the knowledge gained by such studies to the needs of society, such as more rational use of mineral resources, reduction of the effects of natural hazards, and environmental protection. The Union's objectives are the promotion and coordination of physical, chemical, and mathematical studies of the Earth and its environment in space. These studies include the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth's internal structure, the hydrologic cycle including snow and ice, all aspects of the oceans, the atmosphere, the ionosphere, magnetopshere, and solar-terrestrial relations, and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets.

    The IUGG has supported collaborative international interdisciplinary research programmes such as the International Geophysical Year (1957-58), the Upper Mantle Project (1964-70), the Geodynamics Project (1972-79), the Global Atmospheric Research Programme (1970-80), and the International Lithosphere Programme (1981-90). A major achievement has been the creation, through the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), of the World Data Center System, from which the data gathered during these major programmes are available to research workers everywhere.

    The IUGG cooperates with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the study of natural catastrophes. It is also represented on the ICSU Committee for Science and Technology in Developing Countries and gives particular emphasis to the scientific problems of such areas by sponsoring activities relevant to the scientific needs of the Third World.

    The Union also cosponsors the Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Services (FAGS) and is a partner with other unions of ICSU in certain Inter-Union Commissions. By their very nature geodetic and geophysical studies require a high degree of international cooperation, as well as effective central coordination. The Union is fortunate in having 78 member countries. The great majority participate in the Union through IUGG Committees set up by the national academy or another body that adheres to ICSU. Member countries are distributed throughout the world as follows: Africa, 17; Asia, 21; Europe, 27; Oceania, 2; North and Central America, 5; and South America, 6.

    Each IUGG committee functions as a nongovernmental entity in its relations with IUGG and is represented at the periodic General Assemblies of the Union by delegates appointed by its adhering body. During these Assemblies, policies governing the Union are agreed on, research programmes requiring international participation are formulated and coordinated, and plans are drawn for their execution. The scientific results of programmes in progress are discussed during the Assemblies and at numerous symposia, commission, and working group meetings and other gatherings of scientists. General Assemblies have been held since 1922, in recent years at 4-year intervals.

    Responsibility for direction of the Union's affairs is vested in the IUGG Council by the Statutes and By-laws. The IUGG Council consists of the Council Delegates, who are designated for the Council meetings by their adhering body as the representative country. A Bureau, an Executive Committee, and a Finance Committee administer the IUGG between Council meetings. The Executive Committee has the particular responsibility of overseeing the scientific programs of the Union.


    The Union comprises seven autonomous Associations, each responsible for a specific range of topics of themes within the overall scope of the Union's activities. The seven Associations are:
  • International Association of Geodesy (IAG)
  • International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI)
  • International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI)
  • International Association of Geomagnetism and
    Aeronomy (IAGA)
  • International Association of Meteorological and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS)
  • International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
  • International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean (IAPSO)

    Each Association is managed by a Bureau and Executive Committee whose members are elected during their General Assemblies. The Associations convene their own General Assemblies and sponsor particular symposia, often in partnership with one another, and also with some intergovernmental organizations, such as UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Within its own discipline each Association is responsible for determining its own programme of investigations and for supporting the activities of its own component parts. Owing to the interactive nature of the subject fields managed by the Union's Association, a number of Inter-Association Commissions have been established which serve the Union and the international geophysical community by promoting the study of particular interdisciplinary problems.

    The numerous symposia and workshops organized by the Associations, together with the General Assemblies, provide the opportunity for scientists from throughout the world to discuss their respective methodologies, results and hypotheses and to plan particular collaborative research projects. The symposia are intended to be particularly helpful to the younger scientists from the developing countries of the world. The official languages of the Union are French and English.


    The income of the Union is derived mainly from annual contributions of the member countries according to a scale of categories to which each member adheres, determined in relation to its own activities in geodesy and geophysics.

    In addition, the Union is fortunate in receiving annual subsidies from UNESCO. More than half the income of the Union is allocated to the Associations. A modest part of the budget is used to meet administrative costs, while the greater part of the remainder is devoted to the organization of symposia and General Assemblies.

    Other financial commitments of the Union have been to meet the costs of publication of the IUGG Chronicle and ensure the representation of the Union at meetings of various Special and Scientific Committees of ICSU and of UNESCO.

    Officers of the Union

    Bureau Members

    President: Helmut Moritz (Graz, Austria)
    Vice President: Peter J. Wyllie (Pasadena, California, USA)
    Secretary General: Georges Balmino (Toulouse, France)
    Treasurer: Soren Gregersen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
    Member: A. S. Monin (Russia)
    Member: Duzheng Ye (Beijing, China)
    Member: Gordon McBean (Ontario, Canada)

    Executive Committee

    The Bureau of the Union
    Past President: V. I. Keilis-Borok (Moscow, Russia)
    The Presidents of the Associations
    IAG: W. Torge (Hannover, Germany)
    IAGA: Donald Williams (Laurel, Maryland, USA)
    IAHS: Uri Shamir (Haifa, Israel)
    IAMAS: Brian Hoskins (Reading, England)
    IAPSO: Robin Muench (Bellevue, Washington, USA)
    IASPEI: A. V. Nikolaev (Moscow, Russia)
    IAVCEI: P. Gasparini (Napoli, Italy)

    Secretary Generals of the Associations

    IAG: C. Boucher (Saint-Mande, France)
    IAGA: Michael Gadsden (Aberdeen, Scotland)
    IAHS: Henny Colenbrander (Delft, Netherlands)
    IAMAS: Michael Kuhn (Innsbruck, Austria)
    IAPSO: Robert Stevenson (Del Mar, California, USA)
    IASPEI: E. R. Engdahl (Denver, Colorado, USA)
    IAVCEI: R. W. Johnson (Canberra, Australia)

    IUGG XXI General Assembly Program Committee

    Chairman, IUGG:

    David S. Chapman, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA; tel: 1-801-581-6820; fax: 1-801-581-7065; e-mail:

    IUGG Bureau Representative:

    Peter J. Wyllie, Department of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA; tel: 1-818-395-6461; fax: 1-818-568-0935; e-mail: pwyllie@caltech.binet

    Ex-officio Member:

    H. Moritz, Physical Geodesy, Graz University of Technology, Steyrergasse 30, 8010 GRAZ, Austria; tel: 43-316-8736351; fax: 43-316-81-79-09; telex: 311-221

    International Association of Geodesy (IAG):

    Jean O. Dickey, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech, MS 238-332, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California 91109, USA; tel: 1-818-354-3235; fax: 1-818-393-6890; e-mail:

    International Association of Geomagnetism
    and Aeronomy (IAGA):

    Michael Gadsden, Physics Department, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AB9 2UE, Scotland; tel: 44-738-440-358; fax: 44-738-440-450. North American Representative: JoAnn Joselyn, NOAA Space Environment Laboratory, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA; tel: 1-303-497-5147; fax: 1-303-497-3645; e-mail:

    International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS):

    Richard Hadley, 3784 S. Depew Street, Denver, Colorado 80235, USA; tel: 1-303-986-7130; fax: 1-303-914-0786

    International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS):

    Peter Taylor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, York University, 4700 Keele Street, North York, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada; tel: 1-416-736-5245; fax: 1-416-736-2100, ext. 77707

    Ocean Sciences Program Representative (OS and PS):

    Christopher N. K. Mooers, RSMAS, Ocean Pollution Research Center, MSC 132, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA; tel: 1-305-361-4825; fax: 1-305-361-4797; e-mail:

    International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI):

    E. Robert Engdahl, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, Box 25046, Mail Stop 967, Denver, Colorado 80225, USA; tel: 1-303-273-8422; fax: 1-303-273-8450; e-mail:

    International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI):

    Richard Carlson, Carnegie Institute, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, 5241 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20015, USA; tel: 1-202-686-4390; fax: 1-202-364-8726; e-mail:

    AGU Representative:

    Marshall Moss, 6230 North Oasis Court, Tucson, Arizona 85704, USA; tel: 1-602-742-2266; fax: 1-602-797-2813

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    IUGG XXI General Assembly